Austrian Music Highlights #13

Austrian Music Highlights

With broad, teethy smiles, we can finally rejoice and affirm: It’s not only raining rain (though it’s doing that too), but, alas, it’s also raining concerts! Yes, dear people, we hereby declare: The season of touring and live shows has officially begun! We’ve put in our due time of dreary winters, quarantines and crazy-making regulations upon regulation-switcheroos, and, we dare say, we have thereby earned our right to storm the shows, fill the seats, shake the booties, and get back into our concert-going alter egos and parallel lives. Are we right, or are we right?


As of today (April 21), HVOB begins their European “TOO” tour, starting off in Germany, Switzerland and the Czech Republic, before heading over to the UK, Belgium, the Netherlands, Hungary and more of Germany. The tour accompanies their new album “TOO” (released on April 8th on PIAS). Following 4 studio albums and a live one (“Live in London”), Anna Müller and Paul Wallner are now presenting their 6th full album. As usual, the album embraces pumping kicks and snares, interrupted by melancholic vocals, but this time takes on the support of strings, synths and even pianos on the last track. Spherical sounds and quiet ambient tracks find their place too, while booming, gritty industrial techno tracks dominate. “TOO” carries flexible musical arrangements, but with HVOB’s reliable style of vocals, as well as some surprising artistic detours.

Video: HVOB – Bruise

After her appearance at c/o pop 2022 on April 24th, the young “cloud pop” artist (if one must categorize her, which she doesn’t actually want to do), Verifiziert sets out to conquer Germany. (Not really. But her tour schedule looks that way, at least.) Heading through major and less major cities up, down, left and right through the country, Verifiziert’s May-June tour seems to have all the right ingredients for making a mark in the German pop world in a big way. Check out her dates here, and catch this emerging artist on the road if you can.

Video: Verifiziert – Stromausfall [Pferdeweide Session] (prod. Florida Juicy)

Kerosin95 is releasing their new EP “Trans Agenda Dynastie” tomorrow, April 22 on Ink Music. And, if the first single is any indication, the rest of the EP is sure to be powerfully packed with bumping music and unapologetically powerful lyrics. Catch Kerosin95 on their Trans Agenda Tour 2022 starting May 6th, heading through Austria and Germany.

Video: KEROSIN95 – Trans Agenda Dynastie

ON WE GO/Here we come

With the recent release “Weitergehen” (“Keep Going”), Oehl takes a courageous, emotional step out of the realm of duo and into the one of solo.

“It always goes on somehow. After a separation as well as after a failure. And of course, each step is often associated with great emotion, sadness and pain. But that passes. The Viennese singer and indie lyricist Ariel Oehl, who after the departure of his former partner Hjörtur Hjörleifsson continues Oehl from now on as a solo project, processes in his new song “Weitergehen” in his unmistakably own haunting way just such an experience. Melancholic in tone and with mumbling vocals as well as accompanied by a really casual pop sound, Ariel Oehl lets the listeners share in his fate. A heartbreak song that sets the mood in its own way.” – from the mica Release Radar

Video: Weitergehen

There’s a new festival in town and its name is Nawa. Founded by musician Mahan Mirarab, the festival is dedicated to music & documentary filmmaking by contemporary artists from North Africa and West Asia. It will take place for the first time in 2022, between May 2nd-7th, with this year’s focus on Iran.

Beyond folklore, traditionalism and ethnic demarcation, the nawa music & film festival offers a transcultural and interdisciplinary platform for contemporary art. nawa is the abbreviation for North Africa & West Asia; in Arabic and Persian, nawa also means song, melody or sound. Two renowned and historic venues in the center of Vienna provide the atmospheric ambience: the Nestroyhof Hamakom theater becomes a concert stage, and the film program plays at the Burg Kino. Opening the festival’s music program will be power duo, Golnar Shahyar and Rojin Sharafi on May 5th.

Video: Nawa Festival – Trailer 2022

Purple is the Color didn’t only release a new video, but its very first on April 1st, to bring moving-image-life to the track “KLAMAUK” off their 2nd album, “EPIC” (Sessionwork Records). Telling tales of art and society, all with rattling riffs, a fresh sound and storytelling melodies, the quartet seeks to do more than just put out another track. “KLAMAUK”, along with all the other pieces on the album, is characterized by a playful synthesis of ideas and a post-modernist stance. With their second album, the Viennese quartet proves that they’ve firmly taken their seat at the international jazz table.

Video: Purple is the Color / KLAMAUK


Without a doubt, double bassist ANDREAS WAELTI is one of the more active musicians working in the field of jazz in Austria. Involved in various projects, the Vienna-based Swiss is characterized, above all by his great musical breadth. No matter if he is a free improviser or is working in the classical jazz context, ANDREAS WAELTI knows how to enrich every music he encounters with his multifaceted, open-minded playing. The proof of his wide, musical spectrum will be provided in the coming weeks by the release of his solo album “Lowdown” and the new album “Y” of the trio (together with GEORG VOGEL and MICHAEL PROWAZNIK), TREE. Both albums will be released on Unit Records.

“The double bass can be unwieldy, but the music on “Lowdown” breezes past its peculiarities, delivering a thoroughly engaging program that is varied without losing coherence. “Shruti” and “Partial” are meditations on timbre, developing in layers rather than in the classic, linear sense; with the jazz classics “Milestones” and “Kind Folk”, Waelti pays tribute to the tradition that so clearly informs his playing. But he is at his best playing his own work: highlights include “Symmetric”, its bluesy introduction giving way to a highly focused set of variations on a simple figure, and “Squagganeek”, with shifting meters suspended over a rock-solid pulse.” – Phil Yaeger, composer, trombonist & writer

Video: Andreas Waelti – Forty-Two

Georg Vogel, Andreas Waelti and Michael Prowaznik play jazz in all its various forms, devoting themselves to the interplay of conceptual and intuitive ideas, elaborating or contrasting them in the course of their improvisation. The trio’s approach is refreshingly undogmatic: anachronisms are cleverly updated, liberated, and merged with the modern to form new hybrids. Tree works as a unit in the best sense of the word, showing conclusively that even in postmodern times, music can retain a special vitality. The album “Y” comes out on Unit Records on April 22nd and the release concert will take place on May 11th at Radiokulturhaus.

TREE Kick Jazz 2020 (c) Severin Koller


This month marks the opening of Die Unheimliche Bibliothek (The Strange Library) from HARUKI MURAKAMI theater piece at the Odeon Theater Vienna. “This wondrous tale of loss and loneliness, of first love and liberation, seems like the wellspring from which the many great novels of Japanese master Haruki Murakami are fed. The novella has now been adapted for the stage for the first time by Jacqueline Kornmüller” and thereby sees its world premiere on April 21, 2022, with 7 more dates thru May 21st at the Odeon. The musicians chosen to score and play live for this piece are the Viennese duo Die Strottern (Klemens Lendl, David Müller), together with Peter Rom. In addition, Nils Arztmann, Christian Nickel, Manaho Shimokawa, Yoshie Maruoka and Peter Wolf will be head playing as well.

poster for The Strange Library 2022 / Illustration from Kat
(c) The Strange Library 2022 / Illustration from Kat Menschik


“With its official opening scheduled as part of the Wiener Festwochen, the Austrian Museum for Black Entertainment and Black Music (ÖMSUBM) is set to become the foremost museum for Black culture and popular music in the German-speaking world. It comprises an extensive archive of vinyl records, magazines, autographs and memorabilia, exhibited in a vibrant venue for the mediation and discussion of Black art and history. Curated by Joana Tischkau, Anta Helena Recke, Elisabeth Hampe, Frieder Blume and Dalia Ahmed, the Museum gathers stories of Black artists and entertainers who rose to prominence in what has been a predominantly white German-language entertainment industry. It illustrates the conditions under which the careers of, among others, Tic Tac Toe, Arabella Kiesbauer, The Rounder Girls, Mola Adebisi and Roberto Blanco progressed in the period from the 1940s to the early noughties, i.e. the turning point between the dwindling importance of scheduled television content and the dawn of the YouTube era. Performances, lectures, panel discussions and concerts by Black artists, activists and media professionals currently living in Austria establish a dialogue with the Museum’s collection, making it a place of exchange with the past nonetheless orientated towards the future.” The official opening will take place on May 14th, 2022.


With this year’s program, “STEALING THE STOLEN” artistic director Thomas Edlinger attempts to position the donaufestival within pertinent topics of today’s sociopolitical, cultural discourse. The theme of this year’s donaufestival in Krems is cultural (re-/counter-) appropriation – both the acknowledgment of it, as well as the questioning of its purpose, form, expression and place in cultural history, present and possibly future. As usual, the festival enters and embraces the grey zones with a complex stance.

poster for donaufestival 2022
(c) donaufestival 2022

Regarding the lineup, “donaufestival 2022 puts its trust in the power of counter appropriations – against hegemonic forms and for new connections. The Tunisian musician AMMAR 808 links South Indian vibes with the beats of a Roland TR 808 drum machine. Fehler Kuti doesn’t want to be just Fela Kuti but rather sings in Denglish of “The Price of Teilhabe”; Soap&Skin slips into sheep’s clothing and reinterprets the work of others. In the world premiere of Fire Walk with Me, Ariel Efraim Ashbel seizes the memory of David Lynch, while Ula Sickle speaks of the march of sadness into rap. In his installation at Kunsthalle Krems, artist and musician Julian Warner explores the appropriations of war metaphors in times of pandemic and the war in the Ukraine.” – Thomas Edlinger

With a typically international and domestic lineup, there’s much to be seen, heard, confronted and considered at this year’s donaufestival, running on the 2 weekends between April 29th and May 8th in Krems, Austria.

Video: donaufestival Trailer 2022

Arianna Fleur Alfreds